LETTERS TO EDITOR
May 24, 2013
You asked for comments on your story “Progressive Maryland” (May 3). The left-leaning direction of our state is nothing to be proud of. Our state is being held hostage by a few counties that are pushing the rest of the state in that direction. In 2012, President Barack Obama only carried seven counties, and in 2010, former Gov. Robert Ehrlich carried all but six counties. A quiet conversation at a Kiddish lunch with friends or at a social event will also show that the Jewish community is not in lock-step with the present situation in Annapolis. Most of us are afraid to speak up with our true opinions. Maryland recently ranked the 10th worst business climate in the country. Maryland consistently loses major businesses in the D.C. area to Virginia. Look at Arlington or the Dulles Airport areas and see how it compares to Prince George’s County. Look at what happened to movie making in Maryland now that the state has pulled most of the subsidies. Even “Hairspray,” a movie set in Baltimore, was filmed in California.
How many new taxes and fees has our current governor [Martin O’Malley] given us, starting with the 20-percent increase in the sales tax and ending this year with the 20-cent increase in the gas tax, two of the most regressive taxes?
On the previous page [in the May 3 edition] there was a story about Rep. John Sarbanes (“Health-Care Costs Will Stabilize”) full of “may” and “might” and “should” and “I believe” related to Obamacare. The accompanying photo that showed Rep. Nancy Pelosi in the background is appropriate, recalling her famous statement, “Let’s pass this so we can find out what’s in it.” We found out that CareFirst is increasing rates by 25 percent, and who knows what other unintended consequences we will find as we get closer to 2014.
Morris N. Saks
May 24, 2013
Governance, Not Austerity
In his discussion [at the Edward A. Myerberg Center], Rep. John Sarbanes [D-3] tried to put seniors at ease by telling them what they wanted to hear rather than by facing reality (“Health-Care Costs Will Stabilize,” May 3). But there will be significant changes
to health-care delivery and covered procedures after new protocols are enacted. The establishment of insurance exchanges will be a complex and costly process. Currently, states are struggling with the increases to the number of people enrolled in Medicaid.
Rep. Sarbanes’ comments on the economy were particularly disturbing. Sequestration occurred because the Obama Administration and a divided Congress were unable to resolve the problem of unsustainable benefit programs. Rep. Sarbanes criticized sequestration as a form of austerity, arguing that the Eurozone unemployment rate of 11 percent is due to austerity measures. However, the unemployment rates of individual Eurozone countries tell a different story. The rates for Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg are significantly below the average. The rates for Spain, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Portugal are significantly above the average. The nations that practice good governance have stronger economies. Those that pursue unsustainable social welfare programs have weaker economies and high unemployment. The problem is governance, not austerity.
Lowell E. Abramson
May 24, 2013
Thank You, Jewish Baltimore
I want to thank the Baltimore Jewish Times for its coverage of our 97th annual convention, which took place on May 2 (“Happy Birthday Maryland Jewish Women,” May 10). Ellen Lightman, recipient of our E.B. Hirsh Lifetime Achievement Award, embodies the mission statement of the Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland. We could not have chosen a more deserving person. Special thanks go to our convention co-chairs, Joanne Goldsmith and Sheila Stern.
We are an umbrella group of 28 nonprofit organizations and sisterhoods committed to leadership training, support of the Jewish community and advocacy for issues of major concern. Each of our organizations honored a special woman with the Women of Strength award. As we approach our 100-year anniversary, we must thank the Baltimore Jewish community for its strength. We are the only Jewish women’s federation still in existence, in great part due to our diversity and mutual respect. Women from all religious areas come together to learn from each other and work toward bettering our communities. It is an honor to serve you.
Harriet L. Meier, M.D.
President, Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland
May 17, 2013
Yeah, What About Caregivers?
I share Benjamin J. Dubin’s concern about the unaffordability of home-care services for the majority of our community (“What About Caregivers?,” letters, May 3). The senior population is increasing at a very swift pace. Will our community be ready for this oncoming avalanche of seniors in need of support services? How will we come to the aid of our ever-increasing aging population?
I am a caregiver and very well understand the magnitude of the physical, emotional and financial toll. I have recently sought help from the Northwest Neighbors Connecting organization, which is part of Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc., an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. They have made a valiant effort to provide the help we greatly need.
I wish to recognize and sincerely thank this wonderful organization. Specifically, I wish to express our appreciation to Lane Levine and Dan and Rysl Edelman. … May your efforts be blessed.
May 17, 2013
Like All Other Nation
With regard to the proposal of electing a “moderate chief rabbi ... to help move toward gradual change in policies and procedures” (“Anticipating A New Israeli Chief Rabbi,” May 5), Israel is subscribing to the concept of n’hiyeh k’chol hagoyim, let us be as all the other nations. Let the State of Israel be like the Greeks in the time of the Macabees, like the Persians in the time of Esther, like the Romans in the time of Rabbi Akiva, like the people in the time of the Spanish Inquisition. The State now seems to be trying, God forbid, to destroy Judaism from within, just like all the other nations.
May 17, 2013
Joseph Feld’s spirited defense of Haredi practice (“Jewish law for Israel,” May 5 ) is misbegotten. For example, he offers the clothing ban of Deuteronomy 22:5 as halachic justification for those offended by the sight of the Women of the Wall draping themselves in a tallit. First of all, the standard interpretation of the Biblical prohibition applies to cross dressing, not to any single item of clothing. Secondly … Maimonides in Hilkhot Tsitsit 3:9 explicitly permits women to wear a talit, albeit without reciting a blessing. … Feld also implies that Deuteronomy 7:3 is a blanket prohibition of intermarriage. Not so. It banned intermarriage only as reg-ards the Seven Tribes of Canaan. Much later on, with no scriptural justification, Ezra the Scribe arbitrarily extended it to include others.
Finally, as to Feld’s opposition to the view that American Jewry needs to apply pressure in Israel in support of far-reaching reform because “Israel is too important to be left to the Israelis,” responsibility and decision-making go hand in hand. The hard, cold fact is that without American Jews’ political influence upon the U.S. government and communal monetary largesse, it is unlikely Israel would be around today to celebrate its 65th birthday. American Jewry helps pay Israel’s bills, both directly and indirectly, both diplomatically and financially, and therefore is entitled to an important voice in its affairs.
May 17, 2013
Smart Meters Unwise
I would like to add my two cents regarding your article critical of BGE’s plan to replace our present analog meters with the so called smart meters (“Smart Meters: Dumb Choice,” April 5). There are several concerns with these meters. The most popular objection is to the potential health hazards of the microwave rad-iation they will emit. Although this may be a significant concern, those in favor of the smart meters say that there is no proof of a health hazard. This is true. However, of much greater concern to me is the known problem with the meters overheating and causing fires. This is a real danger, and no one has to do a study to know that fires are hazardous to your health and property. These smart meters have been known to produce voltage surges that can “fry” your TVs, computers and anything else with a microprocessor.
A Pennsylvania electric provider, Pepco, had to suspend installation of smart meters because of fires caused by the brand of meter they were installing. They eventually switched the brand, but who knows if the new brand is any safer. It is my understanding that none of the smart meters are UL (Underwriters Laboratory) approved. Anyone interested in reading about the potential for fire hazards needs only to do a Google search for “smart meter fires” to decide if he wants this danger in his home.
Finally, in a recent edition of the Baltimore Jewish Times, there was a rebuttal to your April 5 article, denying the validity of the complaints and instead extolling the virtues of the smart meters (“Smart Meters: Plain Smart,” April 19). It is significant to know that this rebuttal argument was written by a communications officer working for BGE.
I, for one, have been granted a temporary opt-out from the program, during which time BGE will not install a smart meter in my home. I am awaiting the Maryland PSC decision determining how a permanent opt-out will be handled.
May 17, 2013
Religious Schools Are Religious
In response to the letter “No Need For Pride” (April 26), religion-sponsored schools have been trying to chip away at the wall of separation between state and religion for quite some time when it is to their financial benefit, claiming that it is possible to separate their religious and secular functions. The very fact of the schools’ sponsorship is a form of religious instruction. Anyone who truly believes [the schools’ claim] is on a fool’s mission.
David L. Fisher
May 17, 2013
Welcoming An Old Friend
I want to thank the Baltimore Jewish Times and Maayan Jaffe for the beautiful article about B’nai Israel Congregation and our recent revitalization (“‘Over The Wire,” April 26). I feel privileged to serve as the spiritual leader of such a unique and special community, especially at this time of exciting and unprecedented growth. I also want to acknowledge the tremendous work of Rabbi Dr. Alan Yuter, a giant of Torah and a pastoral genius who lovingly shepherded the congregation for the past seven years, who was instrumental in its growth, and who has been an invaluable mentor to me. We are privileged to be welcoming back Rabbi Yuter this upcoming Thursday evening, May 23, at 7 p.m. to B’nai Israel for a community lecture; he is visiting from Jerusalem. All are invited. It will be a stimulating and thought-provoking evening that you will not want to miss.
Rabbi Etan Mintz
B’nai Israel Congregation
May 17, 2013
Spring Safety Lesson
This is a letter/article submitted to The Baltimore Sun, before Mel Pachino’s accident (“Pikesville Pharmacist Mel Pachino Struck By Car, In Critical Condition,” online only, May 5), but it is very relevant here, too. The recent accident involving jogger Dr. Ted Houck (and now bicyclist Mel Pachino) brings to the forefront safety while running and cycling. I am 61 years old, and this is my third season riding a bike. It can be very scary at times. I have come to the conclusion that some drivers, and it only takes one, are unaware of how to drive when they see a cyclist or runner.
This article is to inform those drivers so that we hopefully don’t read about another accident this season. For the sake of space, when I write cyclist, read cyclist or runner.
Let’s start with the law. The law recently passed in Maryland is to give 3 feet between your car and the cyclist. Remember, your side-view mirror sticks out 6 to 12 inches. I have been witness to a rider being nicked by a mirror and he went down. It doesn’t take much from a moving vehicle. If you are unable to give the cyclist 3 feet, you are req-uired to slow down and follow until you are able.
Cyclists have the same right to the road as a motorist. Cyclists, it means you too, have to follow the traffic laws. Some cyclists ride their bikes like the law doesn’t apply to them. Stop signs and stop lights are only suggestions to them. Not so. There are too many close calls because cyclists can’t wait. If you are on your bike, by definition you aren’t in a hurry. So, cyclists, follow the law. Just because we cyclists have the same right, or even the right of way, it is just plain stupid to challenge a car. You will lose every time.
Now for the common-sense part. I don’t care how much of a hurry you are in, it will ruin your day and possibly much of your life, if you hit a cyclist or runner. I would think that crippling or killing a person because you were late to work would be life changing. Bottom line: It is not worth taking the chance. You can’t imagine how much we appreciate drivers who move over or wait for us. It means that they understand we are just out for some fun and exercise and want to return home in one piece. They also don’t want to take the chance of getting into an accident.
Now, for some unwritten rules.
1. You are at a stop sign or light and you see a cyclist with the right of way coming at you. Don’t try to dart out and make it. Please wait.
2. You are following a cyclist who is riding on the right side of the road and you have to turn right. You could make it if you hurried. Please wait.
3. You are coming up on a cyclist and there is a hill or curve up ahead. Don’t floor it so you can pass before the crest of the hill or the curve. This is both dangerous for you, the cyclist, and the person coming over that hill or around that curve. Please wait. Since we are ahead of you, we can see farther. Most of us will signal you if it is safe to pass. Remember, we also drive cars.
4. Before you get out of your parallel-parked car, look in the rear-view mirror. Many accidents happen bec-ause drivers just open their doors without looking. It is obvious what happens to the cyclist, but the cyclist could also be a truck or car. Please wait and take a two-second look.
5. Forget your cell phone. Please wait until you are at your destination or until you pull over to see what emergency needs your attention.
6. We know you are there (most of the time). Don’t honk. Don’t scream. It scares us.
7. If a cyclist is in the middle of the lane, it is probably for a reason. … Again, don’t honk, we know you are there. Please wait, we will move over when we can or stop to let you pass.
So let’s all enjoy our spring and summer … and not read about another tragedy like Dr. Houck, Mel Pachino or JHU student Nathan Krasnopoler. … I wish a speedy and complete recovery to Dr. Houck and Mel Pachino.
May 17, 2013
As a follow-up to Suzanne Pollak’s article, “Empowered” (May 5), it was great to relive Tsega Melaku’s amazing journey from Ethiopia to becoming a powerhouse within Israel’s Ethiopian-Jewish community.
Tsega’s mission is to remind us that Operation Solomon (more than 22 years ago) wasn’t the end of the story. For our Ethiopian-Jewish “relatives,” the long-awaited dream of finally setting foot in Jerusalem was, and still is, burdened by the unimagined challenges that accompany living in 21st-century Israel. In truth, the absorption process is ongoing, resulting in some amazing success stories. That’s where we come in. Our continued involvement helping Ethiopian Jews make it within Israeli society is ever more urgent. It is organizations such as the North American Conference On Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ) and Congregation Tifereth Israel (the synagogue that my family and I belonged to on Long Island) that have made a difference for Tsega and other Ethiopian-Jewish students. They are today’s success stories and tomorrow’s future.
Hopefully, Pollak’s article will draw renewed interest among those concerned for a whole Israel in all its diversity, body and soul. JT readers who want to learn more are invited to call me at 410-484-4332.
May 10, 2013
Congratulations to Patsy Taubman and her wonderful committee on an outstanding 25th anniversary Jewish Film Festival (“Jewish Film Festival Opens With Glimpse Of ‘The Simpsons,’” March 28). We received our subscriptions as a gift, and we were captivated by every film we viewed. Each guest speaker was engaging and knowledgeable. The implementation of the festival appeared to be seamless, a testament to the dedication and hard work of the planners. We’re hooked! We will definitely be making the short drive from Howard County to the Gordon Center for next year’s festival.
Laurie and Steve Diener
Although the cover story “Being Senior” (April 19) addressed several facets of this topic, one important side was omitted. Upon reading the article, one might get the impression that living at Levindale’s new state-of-the-art residential quarters is a wonderful way to live out one’s rem-aining years. If a person is extremely wealthy and is able to afford these plush apartments in these brand new luxury buildings, then that’s OK. But, no mention was made of the cost in living in such a facility. … What about the individuals whose economic resources are modest or even minimal? What details were provided concerning their living conditions at Levindale? What about people whose health is on the decline, people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, what are their living conditions like at Levindale or other nursing homes?
When I was a volunteer at Levindale for eight years in the 1990s, I saw firsthand a stark picture of living conditions for those seriously ill and unable to afford personal nursing assistants for their care. … The scene left a lot to be desired. Today, Levindale has a much more inviting lobby than in the 1990s, and there are adorable animals roaming around the facility. But I question if the beautiful lobby and endearing pets can attend to the sick patients who require special assistance with their bathroom and eating needs.
I know Levindale has many good and sincere people on its staff, [and] even though I have focused here on Levindale, I believe the same concerns are applicable to most of the nursing homes in our state. It’s a sorry state of affairs for many seniors.
Perhaps a larger part of the blame should be placed on our community for ignoring or allowing these conditions. When was the last time you visited a nursing home?
May 10, 2013
Myerberg: Enriching Lives
I want to applaud your recent issue on topics related to the older members of our community (“Being Senior,” April 19). The “age wave” of older adults is increasing in the Baltimore area, and the members of that age group are, and will continue to be, in need of a variety of services, options and opportunities. While there are many older adults who benefit from the continuing-care retirement communities and home health care mentioned in this article, there are also thousands of older adults in our community who benefit from daily or weekly interaction at a senior or lifelong learning center that allows our citizens to age in place. Studies on aging show that the more active and involved someone is in the community, the greater the chance of their lives extending not only in number of years, but also in quality.
Physical fitness, nutrition, socialization, education and participation in art are all areas that facilities like the Edward A. Myerberg Center offer to keep our aging population physically and mentally younger. Our goal at the Myerberg Center is to enrich the lives of older adults and enhance their quality of life through enriching social and health services. Empowering members of this community to be independent and providing opportunities for socialization will allow older adults to stay healthy.
I invite everyone in our community over 55 to join us and find out how to stay young at heart and continue the journey of lifelong learning
Executive Director Edward A. Myerberg Center
May 10, 2013
While reading Melissa Davis’ article, “Looking Back” (April 19), I thought she was writing about me. I, too, was in BBYO when in school and made many friends. … I, too, was the president of my B’nai B’rith Girls group called Balmap. When I finished school, the adult group requested me to join. [Soon after], the women’s B’nai B’rith and the men’s B’nai B’rith joined together as one organization. I became president of the David Lester Unit and won an award for my outstanding work for the lodge/unit from the Maryland State Association and District Five of B’nai B’rith, which extends from Maryland to Florida. I was then requested to run to be the first woman Maryland State Association president. I did and I won. ... In 1991, I received an Executive Citation from Baltimore County Executive Roger Hayden and a Congressional Record Citation from Congressman Ben Cardin. In 1992, I attended the B’nai B’rith district convention and was awarded the outstanding president’s award of a state organization for B’nai B’rith. All of these honors along with awards I received for my work at the Social Security Administration are hanging on the wall of my home office. I am now retired but still doing lots of volunteer work with my synagogue, Chizuk Amuno and Hadassah. I am also a member of the Dorothy Friedman Caplan Guild and active with the Federation of Jewish Women’s Organization.
I want to thank Melissa for reminding me of how it feels to be active, and I hope she remains active for the rest of her life also. Mazel Tov, Melissa.
Frada A. Wall
May 10, 2013
Not ‘The Wire’
Thank you for the excellent cover story on the historic B’nai Israel synagogue (“Above The Wire,” April 26). My only criticism is associating our shul with “The Wire” on your cover and in the opening paragraph. Our only concern with wires is how to string a kosher eruv to encompass our growing community, which now includes several revitalized waterfront neighborhoods surrounding downtown Baltimore.
May 3, 2013
Timing Is Everything
Highlighting the April 5 edition of the JT dedicated to Yom Ha’Shoah 5773 was the editorial “Yom Ha’Shoah’s Necessary Story.” It emphasized the importance of “remember[ing] the horrors of the Holocaust and its threat to the survival of the Jewish people” and the need “to honor the memory of those who perished.” The editorial concluded that “If we are to assure ‘Never Again,’ we need to make sure that the memory lives on.” The subsequent issue of April 12 focused on Yom Ha’Atzmaut.
Timing is everything.
The chol ha-mo’ed (intermediate days) between these seminal observances was besmirched (if not defiled) by the announcement on April 11 of the induction of WBAL’s late paleo-conservative talk-show host Ron Smith into the Maryland-D.C.-Delaware Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Lest we forget, for Smith, trivialization of the Holocaust was, at best, a trivial matter. …
Smart Meters, Dumb On So Many Levels
Thank you for running the informative article on BGE trying to replace all of our electric meters with smart meters (“Smart Meters: Dumb Choice,” April 12). These are being installed in every house, apartment, office, school, library and hospital
in Baltimore. We apparently are not receiving enough cumulative electromagnetic radiation from cell phones, microwaves, X-rays, CT scans, etc. BGE has a radical solution: 24/7 exposure to heavy doses of non-ionizing radiation from smart meters, adding to our overload of environmental carcinogens and guaranteeing a multitude of health problems, as demonstrated in areas of the country where these meters have been installed.
Remember how the anti-nausea drug thalidomide was touted as being safe and even encouraged during pregnancy? Only after a generation of children were born with deformed limbs did we realize how dangerous the drug was.
Please don’t allow this to happen again. We do not know the long-term consequences of toxic exposure to non-ionizing radiation. Currently three percent of Baltimore residents have chosen to opt out by calling BGE at 800-685-0123 and saying “I do not want a smart meter.”
However, unless an opt out gets approved in the next Maryland legislative session or the Maryland Public Service Commission grants a permanent opt out, we may not have a choice and may be forced to be exposed to this radiation 24/7.
Smart meters are already being installed in Randallstown. We live in the United States, a democratic country, where citizens have the right to be heard. Please take action now. Every person counts.
Dr. Bev Adler
Jewish Law For Israel
There are several points in Ben Sales’ article “Kotel Compromise notwithstanding, Israel facing uphill battle over pluralism” (online only, April 19) that require further comment. Regarding Women of the Wall, the Israeli Supreme Court years back heard the arguments for pluralism and ruled that the section of the Western Wall known as Robinson’s Arch should be set aside for religious services that do not follow minhag Jerusalem, which is broadly Orthodox.
In practice, Jewish and non-Jewish men all get along fine on the men’s side of the mechitza. Popes, cardinals, presidents, prime ministers all manage to respect one another. I understand from my wife that there was no problems on the women’s side either, aside from the Rosh Chodesh antics of the Women of the Wall, who refuse to use Robinson’s Arch and insist on offending other women by acting in contempt of the Court’s ruling.
Deuteronomy 22:5 says, “A woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man, and neither shall a man wear women’s clothing.” This is why some women are offended by Anat Hoffman draped in a tallit. … When entering religious sites one is
expected to respect the appropriate etiquette and not declare a war for religious pluralism.
Sales points out that Israel does not permit intermarriage or same-sex marriage. This might be because Deuteronomy 7:3 prohibits intermarriage, and Leviticus 18:22 prohibits same-sex marriage. Israel is considered to be a Jewish state, and therefore some element of Torah should come as no surprise.
Uri Regev, spokesman for the Movement for Reform Judaism in Israel, says Israel is too important to be left to Israelis and that the best chance for bringing about far-reaching reforms lies outside the country, in the form of the American Jewish community. “It’s all a question of applying sufficient pressure,” he says.
Can you imagine an Israeli saying American Judaism is too important to be left to Americans and that Americans must be pressured to do whatever Israelis tell them?
(Formerly of Baltimore)
May 3, 2013
No Place Like Eddie’s
Regarding the article, “Happy Anni-versary, Eddie’s” (April 12): In 1991, my wife, Fran, discovered Eddie’s of Roland Park soon after we moved into our Colonnade condo on University Parkway. For nine years, Eddie’s was our go-to source for many of the wonderful goodies they “dished out” on a daily basis. Each year, they would deliver to us many delicious items for our annual ext-ended family Thanksgiving weekend gathering. I still remember my sister, Gwen, from New York City clamoring to have them open a store in New York after feasting on many of their high-quality foods. We all commented on the extraordinary service they provided; if it was available, they would get it and deliver it.
Once they opened their North Charles Street location, it made it so much easier for us, having moved from Roland Park to the Pikesville area. Now that we are living in Boynton Beach, Fla., we have tried to find a substitute. There are several stores that come close, but we haven’t found any that can provide the variety, the quality or the service that says “Eddie’s of Roland Park.”
Boynton Beach, Fla.
May 3, 2013
Only In Israel
I am not the kind of person who writes letters to the editor or responds to columnists (although I must confess that I did recently write to criticize The Washington Post over its biased journalism in its coverage of Israel during the recent conflict with Hamas). However, I felt compelled to write regarding Maayan Jaffe’s beautiful column, “Only in Israel,” which appeared April 12.
It was beautiful not only in the way it was written, but it was also truly beautiful in its content. Her column expresses … how I, and I presume, most Jews must feel when they travel to Israel. The familial and soulful connection to that place and its people are incredible feelings, and her column certainly captured a bit of what one feels in that magical place.
Thank you, Maayan, for your thoughts and comments. I look forward to your future columns.
May 3, 2013
In response to “Ready to Respond” (April 26), the Boston tragedy last week only proved the need for all of us to be more vigilant [and] to pay attention to our surroundings. Our citizens should have been taught a long time ago to be aware of abandoned bags or parcels. If they were, someone would have alerted the authorities [in Baltimore], and the tragedy could have been avoided. We should not be embarrassed if we happen to be wrong. Moreover, the only way to keep our children safe in schools are fences around the school buildings with security guards at the gate — like they do in Israel. I know we want to live in a free society, but others out there don’t want that. So we have to be smart and protect ourselves. We can be free and safe at the same time, by watching our border and by having plenty of unmarked security guards and police available in our streets, our malls and other public areas. It can be done very discretely — again, like it’s done in Israel. The enemy is not limiting itself only to airports. They have arrived at our doorstep. We should not have to continue to feel unsafe. … This is a wonderful country, and we want to keep it that way.
May 3, 2013
What About Caregivers?
“No Place Like Home” and “Location, Location” (April 19) addressed services for those who can afford Elite HomeCare Services, The Lisa Vogel Agency, Jewish Community Services’ comprehensive assessments, etc. But the articles only present one part of the picture. Where does the family go that wants to maintain their loved ones at home but cannot afford the services of one of the aforementioned groups? Caregiving takes a heavy toll on the caregiver — emotionally, physically and financially. While we know the statistics show the number of seniors who will need care is ever increasing, what is the community doing to assist those who do not have the financial resources to pay for these services? Do our congregations or The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s agencies have programs to support the caregiver? Where can the 24/7 caregiver go for help and respite? If the Baltimore Jewish community is truly a caring community, then these questions need to be addressed before caregiving gets to epidemic proportions.
Benjamin J. Dubin
April 26, 2013
This is at least twice that the JT has printed a written opinion by J Street (“Two-State Solution,” April 12). … The question is hardly why Israel will not agree to a two-state solution, it’s getting the terrorists to the bargaining table. Has J Street ever heard the phrase, “wipe Israel off the map?” How about, “drive all the Jews into the sea?” J Street is talking to the wrong people — and blaming the wrong people — in wanting them to come to the table. Of course, J Street can’t talk to the “other side” because the “other side” would kill those involved with it. Wise up, and stop talking nonsense.
April 26, 2013
A Big Lie
Regarding “Groundswell,” (April 12): Certainly any effort to label J Street as pro-Israel flies in the face of fact. They are an advocacy group for the Palestinian Arabs, excusing the terrorist actions of Hamas and the PLO while castigating Israel for its self-defense. Unfortunately, with contributions many times from questionable sources, they have been able to brainwash some impressionable Jewish and non-Jewish students into believing that Israel has been the aggressor and not the Arab states aligned against the Jewish state to destroy it. J Street represents a big lie when it claims that it is pro-Israel, and its sponsors should be ashamed.
April 26, 2013
One Word: Naiveté
Reading the fairy tale that was the Aaron Levin and Anna Rubin (“Two-State Solution,” April 12) column prompted me to come up with a story of my own: Israel, under strong U.S. pressure, agrees to a treaty with the [Mahmoud] Abbas government. The new Palestinian state on the West Bank has the 1967 boundaries with “minor modifications.” Hamas (unmentioned by Levin and Rubin) denounces the Abbas government and launches terror attacks generating even more support in “Palestine.” Hamas either wins the next election there or stages a coup seizing power in Ramallah. Then, Israel, surrounded by its worst enemies, Hamas, Hezbollah, Revolutionary Syria and Muslim Brotherhood Egypt, declares a state of emergency. Warfare ensues. The story could end with the Jewish state experiencing the kind of peace existing in graveyards.
The naiveté shown in the column reminded me of the Children’s Crusade of the 13th century. Pious European Christian children, convinced of their pure motives and righteousness, felt impelled to act. They expected the Mediterranean Sea to part so they could walk to the Holy Land and peacefully convert Muslims to Christianity. Most participants died or were sold into slavery.
Your J Street cover story (“Ground- swell”) notes the majority of Israelis ignore the unrealistic advice given by Levin, Rubin and their ilk. I suggest American Jews do the same.
I was disappointed and distressed with your cover story about J Street (“Groundswell,” April 12). The number of column inches that you gave over to J Street’s critics and detractors was much higher than the amount of space you devoted to actually talking about J Street’s viewpoints, policies and ideas. Your references to “Judaea and Samaria” — rather than using the phrase “occupied territories” — demonstrates your bias. J Street’s rapid growth over the past five years demonstrates there are many Jews who care about Israel and want to see her try a different path to peace.
April 26, 2013
Maayan Jaffe’s report on J Street (“Groundswell,” April 12) was a welcome relief from the puff pieces I’ve read in publications such as The New York Times or the Forward. Instead of uncritically publishing the puffery of J Street officials and members, Jaffe did a little investigating. She made two important discoveries. The first is that despite its outsized claims of influence, J Street still is a relatively small organization. The second is that it really doesn’t have much of a constituency in Israel.
April 26, 2013
J Street, An Enemy
In reference to “Groundswell” (April 12): Israel’s worst enemies in the past and present come from within. J Street is one such enemy. They voice an opinion with no legal or logical foundation in support of Islamists and terrorists, without ever requiring the Arab side to stand by any commitment to peace.
Shame on those who support and listen to these biased and misleading [leaders]. J Street does not represent Israel, Zionism … or me.
Author, “Israel and the
April 26, 2013
Regarding “Groundswell: J Street has carved out a space in the Israel advocacy arena; Israelis say policies don’t jibe” (April 12): The central belief of J Street that peace in the Middle East is achievable if only the Israeli government would make more concessions defies history and common sense. Just last month, British Counsel General Sir Vincent Vean was scheduled to speak at Birzeit University in Ramallah in the West Bank, but he was prevented from speaking by a raging student mob that pursued him to his automobile, kicking him along the way, protesting … Britain’s 1917 Balfour Declaration, calling for “a national home for the Jewish people.”
Young and theoretically open-minded, progressive Palestinian students at the West Bank’s top university were passionately and violently protesting a decision made nearly 100 years ago. This event clearly encapsulates the absurdity and retrograde
reality with which Israel has to deal.
Unfortunately, Israel has no partner for peace, and all the blindly optimistic visions of J Street will not make it so and indeed are a dangerous naiveté. … If young people, the popular hope of an enlightened future, are incensed about a century-old policy that has come to fruition, then what hope could there be in achieving lasting peace? Until individual Palestinians change the way they are taught and think about Jews and Israel, there is no realistic prospect for peace.
April 26, 2013
Thinking Of Israel
As I sat down to read my Baltimore Jewish Times after candle lighting Friday night, your article (“Only In Israel,” April 12) immediately caught my eye. We lived in Israel for over 10 years, and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of Israel — be it in my prayers, through my friends who are there, or even my dreams, which often take place there. … I laid there reading your article, the tears just kept pouring down my face! You definitely got me on that one! Please continue to have many articles of interest (including pictures) of our country.
April 26, 2013
Smart To Take Advantage
Rabbi Jessy Gross wrote an insightful piece in the April 12 Baltimore Jewish Times (“Building Social Capital”), clearly applying [to her work] what she learned at a Darrell Friedman Institute workshop with social-media expert Lisa Colton. Thank you, Jessy, for attending one of the three DFI workshops Lisa Colton presented to Jewish communal professionals and educators. You were smart in taking advantage of a professional development opportunity that hence inspired and informed your important work of engagement in our Jewish community.
The Darrell Friedman Institute for
Professional Development at the
April 26, 2013
No Need For Pride
A state in which a tremendous gap still exists between the funding of public schools and the funding of the nonsectarian needs of private schools deserves condemnation and not the effusive praise expressed by the Baltimore Jewish Times in its April 12 editorial (“Welcome Focus On Public Education”).
The most recent session of the Maryland General Assembly increased the allocation for the textbook/technology program from $4.4 million to $6.1 million, and for the first time allocated $3.5 million for nonpublic schools to improve their facilities and implement greater security methods. Yet, notwithstanding these improvements, funding of nonpublic schools is less than 1 percent of the billions supplied by Maryland to public school education and is dwarfed by the significant funding of the nonsectarian needs of private schools provided by such states as Pennsylvania ($300 million), New York ($180 million) and New Jersey ($150 million).
Hopefully, Maryland’s long and disgraceful history of neglecting private school students will one day come to an end, and private schools will join public schools in receiving adequate funding. Until this happens, the JT should withhold praising our state government and find things to be proud of other than how Maryland funds education.